Looks like Fall is around the corner here in Colorado. Leaves are falling and there’s already snow in the high country in Wyoming. I love Fall, but I hear the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a snowy winter for us. Well, this IS Colorado!
World Ostomy Day is sponsored by the International Ostomy Association (IOA) and celebrated every three years. This year’s celebration takes place on October 6 with the theme “Speaking Out Changes Lives“. The aim of World Ostomy Day is to improve the rehabilitation of ostomates worldwide by bringing to the attention of the general public and the global community the needs and aspirations of ostomates. Awareness this year is highlighted by Run For Resilience 5K races in various places around the country and virtually. One way to participate is by providing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. The UOAA has provided a template for this, and I’ve found it to be effective in the past.
Jeanine Gleba, UOAA Advocacy Manager, notes in a recent article that the most critical component for living well with an ostomy is finding the right type of ostomy supplies. In a 2017 study called Peoples’ Experiences With Pouches (P.E.W.P.) a majority of ostomates felt they did not receive all of the information that they wanted or needed while in the hospital after ostomy surgery, with lacking product information as the second highest category for inadequacy. In particular “about one quarter of the patients were NOT told that there were other products on the market available to them that may work better for their type of stoma or situation”. I agree! About once a year I review what I’ve been using and then contact all the Manufacturers for free samples. Not only are they great to keep as extra supplies, it’s always good to know if an alternative pouching system will work for you.
I’ve recently run across a webiner sponsored by Hollister Secure Start Services for Ostomy Insurance Reimbursement. Topics covered include Medicare, Medicaid, other Insurances, and Managed Care. Coverage limits are also discussed and broken down by type of ostomy and product. I found this webinar to be really interesting, and particularly useful for new ostomates trying the navigate insurance requirements.
Continuing the theme of pouching and supplies this month, I ran across an article in OstomyConnection profiling a man in Tanzania that faced a permanent colostomy. He was looking forward to the surgery, until he realized the expense of his supplies. His story was recently documented in The Citizen Tanzania and highlights that people all over the world are faced with this decision. OstomyConnection has created Kindred Box, a pay-it-forward initiative connecting people who have excess ostomy supplies to donate to those who need them. Additionaly, organizations like Friends of Ostomates-USA, FOW-Canada, and Ostomy211 are useful agencies accepting donated supplies for those that need them.
Have you heard about or seen the latest kerfuffle surrounding the recent Canadian tobacco warning labels? One of them used an image of an ostomy pouch as a deterrent against smoking. Many found the image to be offensive, and a public campaign was able to get that particular label removed from the campaign. I personally found the image quite offensive, and some have noted that perhaps it wouldn’t have been so insulting had it not shown a full ostomy pouch. VeganOstomy has an interesting article profiling this discussion in a recent blog post.